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As the fifth highest grossing film of the year, and the current champion on the February record leaderboards, Deadpool has made a ton of money off of its meager $58 million budget. But out of that budget came a rather high expense, considering what said expense bought the production. The expense was the clearance to use Bea Arthur's image on Wade Wilson's shirt at the beginning of his story arc. The cost, according to star/producer Ryan Reynolds? $10,000.
This fact comes from the film's official commentary track, which Empire Magazine mined for some classic nuggets of behind-the-scenes trivia from Deadpool's origin story. Among the diamonds in the rough was Reynolds' anecdote about the ultimate decision to spend the money on using the likeness of the famous Golden Girls cast member. Ultimately, Ryan Reynolds came to the following decision:
As a producer, I had to approve that $10,000. ... [But], you can't have aDeadpool movie without Bea Arthur.
However, that $10,000 went to probably the best cause it ever could have, as the late actress' estate ultimately approved of her face being on Ryan Reynolds' chest, in exchange for the aforementioned amount being donated to the charity of the estate's choosing. More than likely, the money was donated to the Ali Forney Center, a favorite of Arthur's that offers housing to homeless LGBTQ youth. So while it may qualify as one of the most expensive easter eggs in film history, as Reynolds himself has speculated, the investment is a win-win, thanks to being not only a kind-hearted gesture, but also a really appropriate easter egg.
Throughout the history of the Deadpool comics, Bea Arthur's name and simulated likeness have come up numerous times. The reason behind this is that Wade Wilson is a really, really big fan of Arthur's work, and the woman herself. So much so that on a couple of occasions, the Merc with the Mouth has found himself severely disappointed that the comedy legend's name wasn't on top of the "Sexiest Woman Alive" list in People Magazine. The devotion is that strong, and since Ryan Reynolds is a hardcore Deadpool fan, his devotion to authenticity pretty much knows no bounds.
One could only wonder how Bea Arthur will pop up in Deadpool 2, which is an active, going concern with 20th Century Fox at the given moment. It's not everyday that an R-rated film breaks the amount of records that Deadpool did this year, and with the X-Men franchise eating its dust, this may be a good time to shift gears and thank the audience for being Wade Wilson's friends! In the meantime, Deadpool is currently on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD; with Deadpool 2 currently looking for a home on the calendar.